What happens if the SNP do well in the May 2015 Election?

Before the referendum I sought an assurance in the Commons from the SNP that they would accept the result of the Referendum either way, and regard the matter as settled. I pointed out that those backing the Union would facilitate Scottish separation if they won by just one vote, so would expect the SNP to accept the Union if the Union won by one vote. I was given the necessary assurance. The talk was of having settled the matter for a generation.

It perhaps should come as no surprise to learn that the SNP did not mean those assurances given prior to the vote. Their recent conference has made it quite clear they regard the last referendum as a stepping stone on the way to another vote where they hope to win. It looks as if their candidates for the May 2015 General Election will be believers in an independent Scotland, as well as presenting themselves as the people best able to maximise the gains for Scotland out of the current round of further devolution negotiations.

Up to this point supporters of the Union could always take comfort from the fact that Scotland has never voted for a majority of independence seeking MPs at Westminster. Scottish voters up to this point have mainly wanted to influence whether Labour or the Conservatives run the Union government. We have never been faced with more than 6 SNP MPs saying they just want to leave the Union and have no interest in how the rest of the UK is governed.

It will all look very different if recent polls stay the same come May. If Scotland were to elect a majority of SNP MPs the rest of the Union cannot ignore that force. If a large group of SNP MPs were part of a Parliament with no majority party then the SNP could be in a position to decide who if anyone did govern,and to demand a constitutional price for their support.

Scotland will only be a settled member of our union again if the SNP decide to change from wanting independence to agreeing to a given amount of devolution and then using its influence to make people happy with that new settlement. Alternatively it will only be a happy member of the union again if Scottish voters reject the SNP for the Westminster Parliament. Voting SNP to maximise leverage over the rest of the UK may seem good tactics to many Scottish voters, but it would mean the referendum had settled little.

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60 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    The referendum clearly has settled nothing and will indeed be treated as a mere stepping stone. I tend to think separation is inevitable in the long term. If the Scottish are daft enough to elect the batty, big state, fake green SNP with their idiotic 12%? stamp duty and the likes, then in many ways it is better for them to be out of the Union. Then they can then perhaps learn, from the disaster that ensues, some economic reality.

    Then again we have almost equally batty. big state, pro EU, fake green LibLabCon in England and the rest of UK.

  2. Mark B
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    So (the nationalists ed) lied. Quell surprise.

    The problem is not the SNP. The problem is Westminster and the way in which ALL the Home Nations are governed.

    I will not repeat myself as quite clearly you do not wish to listen. So I guess we shall have to play this out with the inevitable consequences and let the Scots and the Westminster Politicians find out the hard way.

    The UK is finished.

  3. Ian wragg
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    What you’re really saying is you would rather Labour won in Scotland. There really is a sense of entitlement between the Tories and Labour, passing the baton back and forth. I think we are entering a new era of politics and it’s entirely the fault of people like Cameron who continues to alienate the public. Latest £60 for flood defences overseas whilst running a 1.4 trillion debt.

    Reply I am not saying anything of the sort. I want more Conservatives in Scotland, voting for an EU referendum.

  4. Ian wragg
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Should read £650 million.

  5. Richard1
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    There should be no question of another referendum at least until there is more or less a completely new electorate – in 50 or even 100 years. To allow another referendum would make a nonsense of the last one and would undermine calls for referenda on other issues in the UK – such as the EU. Devolution in Scotland can be added to the Blair-Brown govt’s list of disasters. Now we will have to make the most of it, let Scotland have devomax, but absolutely insist on Justice for England at the same time. The Labour party must not be allowed to stop it.

  6. JoeSoap
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    So be it. It’s the price you pay for bumbling along as a government doing half a job for a full salary. Nothing has changed in 5 years. More regulations, more Europe, more tax, more welfare, less space here in the UK due to more immigration. Perhaps more SNP members would inject a bit more “oomph” into the system, to get some of the changes we desperately need in England too, like more direct democracy?
    The days of Liblabcon in full control are over.

  7. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    No it doesn’t come as a shock, that some don’t accept a democratic vote, but this is the downfall of the countries of the last 30 years in that they don’t put duty before dishonour. They cannot stand not to get their own way.Silly competition I face everyday it seems to be a psychological failing in those who do not understand when they are beaten.

    I have had someone on my back for years who always says that I cannot teach anything..The question is BUT ” what can you teach?” I have been a registered Nurse since 1972 have degrees in philosophy , English , Community health and ethics , so there are many subjects involved in the academic and the practical. (personal dispute left out ed) This is similar to these leaders of political parties .It is not about democracy , it is about them personally losing and they cannot get to grips with failure.

  8. Oscar De Ville
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Yet more soul-searching on devolution and referenda in our Queen`s realm !

    We simply need a full Westminster debate on both, with long overdue scepticism on the former and sadly lacking FIRM conditions laid down on the latter.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      I quite agree. Questions like why do you want complete independence? what are the advantages of becoming completely independent? why do you want to split from a union which has worked in your favour? should be asked openly . These responses can then be better analysed. Simple questioning of motive would give parliament and the public a clearer insight into the minds of the leading or would be leading factions.

      It is not enough to talk about strategy for opting in or out of a union .The strategy is not the cause; only the imagined remedy

  9. Old Albion
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    JR. Below is what I posted here 16/Nov

    “I look forward to the SNP winning the (vast) majority of Scottish seats in the next general election. Then just as day follows night, a second Independance referendum will take place. They won’t ‘get it wrong’ a second time.
    Then Westminster will be forced to admit; England as a political entity does exist”

    I believe the SNP could well muster 50 seats. Add to that the possibillity of twenty or so UKIP. For either Labour or Conservatives to win a working majority it’s looking very difficult.
    Clearly any sort of coalition including the SNP will at it’s centre, have agreement for a second referendum.
    I fully expect the second Scottish Independance referendum before the end of the next Government.
    I welcome such a development in that it will force Westminster parties to addresss England. I am prepared to accept some years of unstable government if the outcome is an English Parliament.
    All of this could have been avoided if Westminster had created fair, equal and democratic devolution in the beginning. We could still create a new UK Federation. Sadly those occupying Westminmster have neither the will nor ability to see the blindingly obvious.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 20, 2014 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      I agree 100% with you my friend.

    • F.Cunctator
      Posted November 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      If the SNP win a large number of seats and so be needed to forma coalition in order to form a government, they would be hypocrites if they do so. The whole aim of the SNP is to govern Scotland as a separate entity from the Union. They do not accept that an entity such as the UK should exists so how can they form part of its government, even though the terms under which they stood in the election was for a UK Parliament.

  10. Douglas Carter
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    It’s an excellent illustration which highlights the reasons that any Referendum held must be conducted so with absolutely crystal-clear terms of reference attached to it, and well in advance of the actual process of the campaign and poll. Those terms of reference must compel all campaigning parties to disclose exactly their intentions with regard to the results of the votes, and where the subjective matter might act as a Trojan Horse for unidentified associate policy, advance disclosure of those things too. (For example, the Labour Party and LibDems are known to favour Single Currency membership to be silently brought in via the back-door in any EU In\Out referendum)

    The Scots cannot be saddled with the whole blame here – the Northern Assembly idea is to be foisted upon the North of England once again in spite of it having been categorically rejected previously – at least one Political Party has no intentions of recognising their own referendum of years past. You would imagine that the LibDems would have erased the policy of electoral reform from their manifesto after the 2011 Referendum debacle – but, no, it’s still there on the basis they ‘only’ voted on AV and not full PR. Similarly the Scots were very foolishly given a Westminster-approved disclaimer when the nature of that which the Scots voted on was changed short days prior to the poll. A definitively idiotic, panic-laden reaction to a single poll. Inch given – mile claimed, I don’t blame them for the opportunism.

    Personally on observation over the past two decades I suspect it’s because the respective Party leaderships look upon Referendums not to settle a matter in favour of the electorate, but to use them to conceal or transiently silence an inconvenient political problem. Blair hid Euro membership and the Lisbon Treaty behind referendums he never intended to hold, but paralysed any discourse thereby on both. Many senior LibDems vanished from the AV campaign when it became clear they were going to lose catastrophically – attempting to delegitimise the eventual result by their absence.

    Then of course we look to less recent Referendums held in Ireland, Denmark, Holland or France. The way in which referendums are held seems to be an unholy mess – no wonder the public are wary of the political class when promised them.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 19, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      I’m no apologist for the SNP and feel had they won the referendum, the Scottish nation would already be on the path to oblivion. I certainly wouldn’t want that, but I do detect a certain amount of belligerence and a sense of betrayal on their part because of the Westminster fudge – perceived or otherwise. The SNP are bound to want independence again if they don’t get everything they were promised in the referendum if the Scottish people voted to stay in the United Kingdom.

      Yet I’m glad to some extent that Labour’s devolution plan that was to ‘see off the Scots nationalists’ has, like so many other things, come back to bite them on the chuff.

      A pro-EU leftie is a pro-EU leftie, despite what they may call themselves, but could the SNP possibly be any worse than Labour?

      Tad

      Reply The Unionist [arties say they are sticking to their timetable and plans on more Scottish devolution, as offered prior to the vote.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply:

        I hope they do stick to their timetable John and don’t go back on anything, because it goes without saying, I want England to have an equitable settlement too. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander, but call me an old cynic, on the strength of what we have seen thus far, I can’t help but think dear old England is going to be treated differently yet again.

        Eventually, English people will get fed up with being second-class rubbing rags, and where will Mr Cameron be then I wonder?

        Tad

  11. oldtimer
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Your analysis sounds right to me. It is just one of the several uncertainties facing the electorate and those they elect to the Westminster bubble. The three main parties, but especially Labour, have only themselves to blame through the policies pursued over the years.

  12. davem
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    If I was in central govt and wanted to concentrate on being a major player in international matters as well as ensuring the safety and prosperity of the UK, I would be getting increasingly irritated by young upstarts such as the SNP, Ukip, etc. distracting me.

    So I would be inclined to think that if I gave the UK a straight in/out referendum on the EU without bothering to renegotiate (because no-one trusts me on that anyway after the extra payment business) and gave each home country “Devo Max” (for want of a better expression) with a legally binding mandate on what they can and can’t do, they’d leave me alone to get on with what I want to do. I’d also think that the Scots can’t be that bothered about controlling their own law-making and foreign policy because they were keen to join the EU had they voted for independence from the UK. Also, it appears that Nicola Sturgeon’s only real motivation for independence is to get nuclear missiles out of Faslane.

    So what I’d do is get some really clever, pragmatic and “sober” people, relieve them of all other duties, and give them a month to come up with a solution. I’d then present that as the Conservative Party manifesto, and I might actually stand a chance of winning the next election. After all, if I do that, it’ll only be between my party and Labour because everyone else will be happy.

    Interesting that the govt was on the side of total-control big corporations rather than enterprising free-thinkers in the Pub Bill yeaterday. Very un Thatcher-like. even more interesting that they lost. Hope it doesn’t affect peoples’ private finances too much!!

  13. Iain Moore
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The media and Westminster bubble seem to have accepted the assertion that the SNP could determine the the next Government., without challenging them about the legitimacy of having a Scottish party determining the Government of England. It would also seem to go against the SNP’s claim of not meddling in English politics.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t rely on the SNP claim that they don’t meddle in English affairs; in fact they have thought themselves justified in meddling on several notable occasions in the past, and any scruples they do have about it would be put aside if there was the possibility of becoming part of a coalition government, certainly with Labour and conceivably even with the Tories if the latter were willing. However the need for one of the largest parties in the Commons to form a coalition in order to get an overall majority is predicated on the assumption that it would not be allowed to govern as a minority, which would generally be true but not always under all circumstances. So for example the Tory party could possibly head off the SNP getting into the UK government, on their terms, if it was prepared to commit itself to allow the Labour party to govern without an overall majority.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The threat of a bitter reaction from the SNP is real enough to warrant a stern reaction . In the event of a “hung” parliament it would be inconceivable that the disproportionate representation Scotland has can have the threatened condition you describe in your blog this morning .It was wrong to have agreed to the referendum in the first place , it was wrong for under-age individuals to be allowed to vote and , it was wrong not to have allowed those Scots who were not resident the right to vote .
    We now face a dilemma where our political leadership has to be firm and show to the Union that it will be fair to all and not allow the SNP a back door to its ambitions . Unity can only be achieved by an agreed set of rules we all abide by ; these conditions have to be in place before the GE . I despaired of the way our 3 leaders – without prior consultation and agreement , went to Scotland and offered “give-aways” just prior to the referendum vote ; this action has given the Scots an impression of special treatment and it is this outcome that must now be rectified .

  15. JoolsB
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    How can we call ourselves a democracy when England alone in the UK and western world, continues to be denied the Government of it’s choosing? Come next May, we could very well end up having a Labour Government foist on us, propped up by Scots Nats – both dictating p0licies which only affect England and as we all know, both parties despise England. If this happens, the blatant discrimination England already suffers at the hands of successive UK Governments, this Tory led one included, will multiply ten-fold. Nor will they stop until they have achieved their aim of carving our nation of England up into EU sized regions.

    England will become nothing more than a collection of colonies under Socialist and EU rule and the Conservative party under Cameron will be every bit as culpable for having done absolutely nothing in their five years in office to prevent this happening by addressing the English Question and the rotten deal England gets post devolution, both politically and financially.

    Hopefully, if this does happen and the anti-English Labour and SNP get the keys to no. 10, the people of England will finally say enough is enough and demand their English Parliament with an English First Minister, to be run by English patriots, putting the interests of England before all others in the same way the Scots & Welsh Parliaments are encouraged to do. Of course that means not one of the current UK MPs (with the exception of JR maybe) presently squatting in English seats, who have let England down so badly, would qualify to sit in an English Parliament which is why JR’s two hats policy will not work.

    If it takes the SNP governing England to finally get us our English Parliament, for too long denied to us by the Lab/Lib/Cons, I say “bring it on”!!

  16. Alan Wheatley
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    What is Conservative Party Policy to achieve Scotland as a “settled member of our Union”? The issue is not about votes; votes are the visible expression of feelings, and it is hearts and minds that make people feel settled.

    It is not so long ago that the Conservatives received a lot of support in Scotland. Has the Party given up on it ever happening again?

    What is the positive message from the London Parliament that the Scottish voters would warm to?

    Could it be that some devolution inevitably leads to calls for more devolution. After all, the more decisions affecting those living in Scotland are made in a devolved Parliament the less relevant the remote Westminster Parliament, and it seems likely that will be a self-reinforcing trend. What is the counter pressure? What can be the counter pressure?

    For instance, if the Westminster parliament decided to start HS2 from Glasgow/Edinburgh or they included a Scottish location in the Feasibility studies for a future-proof UK Hub Airport (and there is a good transport case for doing both) then the Scots would be more inclined to think that future does lie within the Union.

    The Better Together Campaign concentrated on the woes of separation. It is about time UK representatives started selling the benefits, and not just to the Scotts. Win that argument and the votes will come.

  17. Lifelogic
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I heard on radio 4 this am that flood defences (in Norfolk I think) need to show the rather high return of £8 benefit for every £1 spent, in order to get state funding. So why exactly are we spending billions on quack energy subsidies that have a clear negative return and just freeze the poor & elderly, push up energy costs and drive jobs (and whole industries) overseas? We do know that flood defences actually work and we do know that saving the trivial co2 in the UK emits clearly won’t do anything at all. Not that most of the wind and PV gimmicks actually save much anyway.

    Can the Cameron and Ed Davey types perhaps explain? Is it just to divert tax payers money to some rich landowners? There seems no other rational explanation.

  18. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I have to wonder if the Tory party has a death wish – both for itself and the country. I could not understand why the Tories did not actively SUPPORT Scottish independence. After all, this would get rid of 40 or so Labour MPs at Westminster and greatly benefit the Tory party and, if you think the Tories are marginally better than Labour, the country too.

    But, no – for some inexplicable reason – ‘the union’ – they seemed to think we must keep Scotland (many of whose people detest us) in the UK.

    But (how stupid can you be?) it was clear the Scottish Nationalists were on the rise in Scotland and that Labour were going downhill.

    Now we face being governed by a rump of Labour MPs from England supported by a bunch of extreme left wing Scottish Nationalist MPs – with the Labour MPs in England possibly only getting the votes of 30% of the 60% that bother to vote – i.e. 18% of the electorate.

    I find myself wondering if the people leading the Tory party are intent on self destruction both of their party and the country. I can’t think of any other reason for their behaviour.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Mike,

      ‘I have to wonder if the Tory party has a death wish – both for itself and the country.’

      I was saying exactly the same thing for the seven years prior to the 1997 General Election, and every year since! If they get clobbered next May, it will be twenty-eight years from the time they last won a GE, to the next chance they’ll have of forming a majority government. Now that says to me, they’ve got the wrong policies and have an acute failure to resonate with the electorate.

      Could their stance on the EU possibly have something to do with it?

      Tad

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted November 20, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Prior to 2010 election I was advocating Mr.Cameron should come to some accommodation with Mr.Salmond reflecting the realities of the Scottish CP being dead in the lochs and what has become known as devo max was very likely. It would have also given the Tories some exra votes or abstentions in the Commons. I would say that Mr.Cameron is an inept political tactician and strategist without any clear vision of what he is trying to achieve in office. He will lose another electon he could have won easily and Scotland will eventually become fully independent when a managed full and beneficial devolution of all four countries should have been achievable. He messed up perhaps the only electoral plan he had in the boundaries commission changes, when he should have fired Clegg and Co. or accepted his terms and told the backbenchers to like it or lump it. Now the prospect of Labour in power with an unstoppable SNP is odds on.

    • Richard
      Posted November 20, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      The reason why the Conservative Party leadership is strangely so keen to keep Scotland in the union is because they know that Scotland is largely pro EU and they want these Scottish votes to keep the UK in the EU come a referendum.

      In fact I have learned that there is a plan for each country’s votes to be counted separately in any referendum and thereby to allow each country to have the veto over leaving the EU.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 20, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        That has certainly been mooted by Sturgeon, but I haven’t heard anyone outside the SNP agreeing with her.

  19. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    ‘You would imagine that the LibDems would have erased the policy of electoral reform from their manifesto after the 2011 Referendum debacle – but, no, it’s still there on the basis they ‘only’ voted on AV and not full PR.’

    Well, yes, AV and PR bear little resemblance and the Lib Dems have always wanted PR – as it addresses the fundamental unfairness of the first past the post system.

    You, presumably, are a fan of ‘first past the post’. I hope you enjoy being governed by a Labour party that gets 30% of the votes of the 60% that bother to vote – supported by the Scottish Nationalists.

    A Labour party – in government – with an absolute ability to whatever the hell it likes – based on the votes of about 18% of the electorate. And you support this!

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      You appear to be holding a solitaire dialogue. Providing not only your own questions but preferred caricature answers to them for your own purposes.

      Do enjoy yourself in that.

      • sm
        Posted November 21, 2014 at 12:00 am | Permalink

        Maybe.. but at least it appears transparent and honest.

  20. Edward Green
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Surely the simplest solution is to change the rules for MPs to to require an oath of allegiance to the crown, the UK and its peoples before they take up their seat, receive wages, expenses or voting privileges?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 20, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      All Westminster MPs are required to take an oath of allegiance – the Sinn Fein MPs who refused to do that were not permitted to take their seats – and members of the Scottish Parliament and government are also required to take the same or a very similar oath, which Nicola Sturgeon has just done as the person nominated to become First Minister:

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/nicola-sturgeon-sworn-in-as-first-minister-1-3610975

      However I would argue that the Scottish oath should be somewhat different from the normal oath, in view of the unlawful tendencies of the SNP it should commit the office holder to act only within the powers devolved by the UK Parliament and explicitly prohibit any use of the public office and public resources to promote the secession of Scotland from the UK, or even question the constitutional position of Scotland as part of the UK.

      • sm
        Posted November 21, 2014 at 12:30 am | Permalink

        Re inforceing that.

        Unless they agree to being unable to on a matters which involves matters that have already been devolved in their respective areas. Lawyers may may appreciate the doublespeak.

  21. Andrew Clark
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    It seems entirely reasonable that the Scots are backing the SNP to get the best possible deal for themselves from Westminster going forward. However, if there is no opportunity for Labour or the Conservatives to benefit from looking after the Scots disproportionately then why should we in the rest of the UK not do the same for our bits of the islands? I will happily vote for any party that looks after English interests disproportionately.

  22. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    It just illustrates just how important it is that England has its own true parliament, as a matter of urgency, and that ‘English Votes ..’ is not the solution.

    All England and the English must awake to reality that we have been let down by our British and Unionist leaders, and they must change or be changed.

  23. bluedog
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Dr JR observes;

    a) ‘If Scotland were to elect a majority of SNP MPs the rest of the Union cannot ignore that force.’

    And,

    b)’…then the SNP could be in a position to decide who if anyone did govern, and to demand a constitutional price for their support’.

    Clearly an outright Conservative majority (unlikely) or a Conservative/UKIP coalition are suddenly of critical importance for the future of the UK.

    But one must take issue with a). Not only will it be truly perverse for the Scots to elect Westminster MPs who seek to reverse the referendum result, but the Westminster Parliament can and should ignore the SNP platform. We know SNP votes can only be won at the expense of Labour, so why will Labour favour their tormentors? The answer is they will not. In short, if the Unionist parties refuse to treat with the SNP, the SNP will simply be left to hang out and dry, thus negating b).

    If the Conservatives and Labour could work together to save the Union before the referendum, it defies belief to suggest that they will not do so again. After all, it is of critical importance that the SNP be discredited, and subjecting their ideas to scrutiny at Westminster is long overdue. It follows that the emergence of a substantial bloc of SNP members at Westminster should be seen positively as an opportunity to raise the stakes in the defence of the Union.

    Remember Salmond? He was a big fish in the small pond of Holyrood but scarcely caused a ripple at Westminster.

    • Chris S
      Posted November 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Miliband is so desperate to get into Downing Street that he would do a deal with the devil if he had to.

      Labour will completely disregard the position of England if Miliband can become PM with the aid of the SNP.

      It may result in a huge amount of dissent and anger across England but the constitutional difficulties this would cause will be quite beyond the understanding of the kind of person that could even contemplate voting for Labour so soon after they wrecked the economy.

  24. John E
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The SNP will win big time in Scotland, but that will not be a vote for independence. It will be a mandate for them to continue shaking down the English for the best deal they can get.
    All the huffing and puffing has worked very well so far so why stop now.

  25. Elliot Kane
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    My honest impression (Though from SE England, so I could be very mistaken), is that Scots are not really considering voting SNP to gain greater leverage, but rather because they are heartily sick of the Westminster parties.

    South of the border, that same ‘a plague on all their houses’ disaffection is leading to the rise of UKIP and, to a lesser extent The Greens. The effect, I think, is greater in Scotland because the SNP are a proven party of (devolved) government.

    Could be completely wrong, but that’s my honest impression 🙂

  26. formula57
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Fair comment but how can the SNP compromise on exit from the Union and remain true to itself? It shows no inclination to do so and why would it accept some form of constitutional settlement in the next Parliament that did not substantially advance that objective? “Devo-max” simply serves to postpone the day when the Union ends.

    The recent best chance for 300 years of seeing Scotland leave the Union (to the great advantage of both Scotland and the rest) was not grasped by your Party: beware of a similar error post the May election.

  27. Stephen O
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    It seems that New Labour’s devolution process has led to conceeding to the SNP the right to engage in EU-style democracy, where the voters have to vote and vote again till they make the ‘right’ choice. Of course if, after however many votes it takes, they do vote the ‘right’ way they never will get the choice to vote again!

    On on this hangs the fate of the United Kingdom. What a mess!

  28. ChrisS
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Our FPTP electoral system is so biased in favour of Labour and Scotland that we face the very real possibility of the SNP being the third largest party after the General Election with around 40 seats, and, astonishingly, they might achieve this result with less than 3% of the total votes cast across the UK !

    By contrast, the LibDems could get up to 20 seats with 10% of the vote and UKIP will struggle to just about achieve 3-6 seats with 20 %

    It’s hard to predict the outcome for Labour and the Conservatives but one thing is certain, if the two parties both achieve around 30%, Labour could have as many as 30-40 more seats than David Cameron.

    On this kind of outcome, and ignoring the Libdems for the moment, Labour and the SNP, on less than 35% of votes, will be likely to have around 60 seats more than the Conservatives and UKIP combined even though the two right of centre parties could have more than 50% of the total votes cast.

    In this scenario, English voters will be rightly outraged if Miliband tries to form an administration relying on SNP MPs to govern England

    For our democracy to be fair and sustainable two changes will be essential :

    1. The FPTP system could only ever be justified because it produced strong single party Governmenth. As this is no longer the case, we must move to some form of proportional representation.

    2. The new devolved powers for Scotland make it essential that we have EVEL because a Labour administration relying on Scottish MPs, either its own or the SNPs, cannot legitimately govern England.

    It was always obvious to me that the SNP were never going to accept the result of the referendum if they lost it. I continue to hold the view that in the long term it would have been far better had they won and the matter settled once and for all.

    Had the SNP won, we would not have the ongoing problems over governance of England. Regretably, it seems likely that, while Scotland remains within the UK, the LibDems and Labour are never going to allow EVEL.

    That’s a disgrace because England is a broadly conservative country which has socialist policies foisted on it by the Lib Dems and Labour because the UK-wide FPTP system is so biased against England, the Conservatives and UKIP.

  29. stred
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Unlike Alex Salmond, who seems to be a likeable person with a good sense of humour,the new leader of the SNP seems have Marmite characteristics, you either like or can’t stand her. My Scots friends are not too pleased to suffer the socialist legislation enacted in Scotland, some of which is to be adopted by Labour in England. Mrs Sturgeon was a lawyer for a brief period but spent most of her life as in the SNP, joined CND and married their chief administrator, a true career politician. A coalition between SNP and Labour will allow Mr Milliband to foist their price and rent controls, licensing, and security of tenure, on the English, while controlling their own taxation and exporting their unreliable and expensive electicity. They will have the Pound but also the freedom to set their own budgets and subsidies. If Mr Cameron allows Labour to avoid a vote on the matter and does not force Labour MPs state their position before the election, his suitability as a PM for the English will be made plain.

  30. They Work for Us
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    As I have said before, nearly all politicians forget their employer (the electorate) and what their employer wants. It is not providing leadership to pursue policies that the electorate don’t want, it is a presumption that the politician “knows better”, they don’t and must not give in to populism (ie their employer’s wishes). We do need a proper right of recall so that politicians that “know better” can be rapidly removed and a by election held for someone who is prepared to follow the electorate ‘s wishes in their constituency.

  31. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I believe ultimately the Labour Party south and north of the border has everything to fear. In the minds of many voters south of the border they have proved themselves anti-British and anti-English in their support of the EU and their deafness to immigration issues. North of the border they seen by many as anti Scots.

    It may well be the SNP will replace the Scottish Labour Party and so also weaken Labour south of the border in England as to render it unviable as Party in the eyes of the electorate.
    The Conservative Party under these circumstances will remain viable. It is a question of which Party will be the main Party in Opposition to Conservatives.

    Voters in the entire United Kingdom will benefit in most realistic outcomes when the Labour Party withers and finally dies. It is long overdue.

  32. zorro
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I have my doubts about the referendum result. If the SNP get a good majority, there should be another referendum. If the people of Scotland wish to leave the Union, they should be allowed to do so notwithstanding Westminster inspired shenanigans…..

    zorro

  33. Atlas
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    The reason that the SNP can still play the Independence card is that the Scottish voters were not give a clear statement about what the ‘Vow’ actually was. So the problem is in part Cameron’s for outsourcing the panic solution to G. Brown – who then made ‘Home Rule’ claims.

    As others have said: exactly what mandate does Osborne have for forcing those in Manchester and the surrounding regions to have an elected mayor? It seems we have a generation of politicians who are playing fast and loose with the populus. The last time we were in this situation we ended up with the formation of the Irish Free State.

  34. Eddie Hill
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, which is why it is doubly annoying that the SNP starting whinging the day after the Referendum that the government was already planning to ignore its pre-vote pledges to Scotland!

    Once again, what is sauce for the goose is apparently not sauce for the gander.

    If the Scots want Westminster to honour its pre-vote pledges, they should honour their pledges too and let this matter rest for a generation. We cannot keep having votes on this issue every few years until the nationalists get what they want.

    Unless of course, we get “devolution” for England first!

  35. David L
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    As long as any future referendum includes all UK citizens….any believers in porcine aviation around?

  36. ferdinand
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Of course you are right. everyone knew that the SNP were lying when they said they would accept the result of the referendum. What was wrong was that Cameron made massive promises which had he thought about them properly he would have realised were to be a stone around our neck. A fool and his promises are soon parted.

  37. Leslie Singleton
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    What we have to pray for is that the EU collapses in its entirety so that Nationalistic Scots are no longer able to dream of jumping ship from dependence on the UK to dependence on the EU; also of help would be the passage of a few years such that “It’s our Oil” no longer means much, not to mention that the Scots might come to appreciate the English a bit more when they realise that despite its being “English Fracking”, it wouldn’t enter the English head, not till recently anyway, to seek to deny a share to Scotland as part of the whole UK. Are there any Scots who would deny that last point? Thank God most Scots hated the “Its our Oil” mantra which is why the No Thanks vote so clearly won.

  38. Chris S
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    As Independence for Scotland is going to be a running sore for the foreseeable future, there can be only one way to resolve the matter :

    A second vote is inevitable so why not hold another referendum but only after the completion of negotiations with the rest of the UK, NATO and the EU so that the Scots know EXACTLY what they are voting for or against ?

    The Nationalists will need to specify :

    What currency they will use as there will be no sharing of the pound.
    How they will maintain Scottish Banks and the Financial Services Industry without the backing of the Bank of England.
    The cost of running Scotland without subsidies from England, now or in the future.

    Full disclosure of the cost of setting up an Independent Scottish civil service, tax collection system and defense force.

    A negotiated and defined agreement on possible accession to the EU and NATO and, if agreeable to those organisations, on exactly what terms.

    And finally, a signed declaration on behalf of the SNP and every other Scottish Party that, in the event of a No vote, the issue will not be revisited for at least 30 years.

    The SNP will be left with no wriggle room so it will have to make clear exactly how they will resolve all of these issues and at what cost.

  39. Martin
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    What you forget is that the YES campaign got 45% of the vote. What the SNP are doing is trying to keep that vote. IF they do it will be more than they have ever had before.

    You and others decided to keep first past the post as a voting for Westminster. 45% in most seats where there are more than two candidates is enough to get elected with.

  40. John Robertson
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    The message to the English is that the Scots and Welsh will vote to promote their devolution interests. What will the English do? Partly depends on how well the English votes for English matters is promoted. In Hollyrood it’s a massive issue. How much have we heard the PM on this issue? Too quiet I suggest. The English will vote for an England but will ignore it if its not made an issue. If the executive decide to play down in favour of the status quo and union these divisions will increase, fragment parties and leave first past the post in need of reform. I think the English will rally round a party that promotes EVEL but not sure the executive may back off from that and loose it because they have’nt reconised the change that has happened.

  41. Leslie Singleton
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Don’t you just love the comments by the Conservatives and Labour on repatriation? Can they be so dumb as not to realise that they will add 10% to UKIP’s turnout??

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Is your hypothesis that the SNP will hold the balance of power? If not, and the Conservatives remain in government, we should be rough with them, doing the minimum that is compatible with THE VOW (allowing the Scots to levy taxes to top up NHS expenditure).

    And we should raise the bar for Scottish independence – the SNP must win a majority of MPs and MSPs in five successive general elections.

    If the SNP do hold the balance of power, God help us – because nobody else will.

  43. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    The SNP will exploit the fact that in any EU referendum is it is possible a majority in England will vote to leave and a majority in Scotland will vote to stay. In that case they will have a big lever to use.

    Looking at Quebec it seems a sequence of votes every ten years or so is likely with, for all their bluster, the Scots being too frit to leave each time, more’s the pity.

  44. Steve Cox
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    I can see pros and cons to the SNP winning big-time next May. The pro is that it should become simpler and clearer to people that a purely Scottish party with its own devolved parliament should not be allowed to have any say in laws only affecting people living in other parts of the UK. The current situation with Labour being a national party as well as having the largest number of Scottish MP’s muddies the water and allows them to make (a rather facile case admittedly) that Scottish MP’s should still be allowed to vote on non-Scottish matters. The con is that in the increasingly likely event of another hung parliament who would the 40-odd potential SNP MP’s be most likely to support? It’s not hard to tell that it won’t be David Cameron’s party, which either leaves us with a minority government if the SNP (and possibly UKIP) refuse to back any other party or else a left-wing Miliband-led government most probably being pushed further leftward by the SNP and being forced into all manner of kickbacks and pork barreling just to keep the SNP on side.

  45. James Matthews
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    The referendum hasn’t settled little., it has settled absolutely nothing. It might have done, had it not been for the shameful panic that followed one unfavourable opinion poll. If further concessions had not been offered either the Scots would have voted yes (highly improbable, but a theoretical possibility), or they would have voted no without being able credibly to claim that this was on the basis of a promise of more powers.

    As it is, the fact that Westminster capitulated so easily (without any mandate to offer more powers from the Scots or anyone else) has encouraged everyone in Scotland, separatist or not, to believe that threatening to leave will always result in more concessions. They have learned that lesson well and hence flock to the SNP.

    The only thing that will stop this process is Westminster showing some backbone. Not much sign of that so far.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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